Friday, August 29, 2008

inFormAL Lessons

I will not be starting school again this fall. For the moment, formal education will not dominate my life. This has not been the case for the past twenty years of my life.

For the past twenty years of my life, September has always been my New Year. September has afforded an opportunity to start fresh and new - New classes, new classmates, new projects, new books, new clothes, new routines, and a chance to turn over a new leaf. (A leaf that autumn supplies in abundance as the foiliage turns golden and falls to the ground preparing for winter.) This year, for the first time in a long time, there will be no new classes or classmates, no new projects or routines, to offer a symbolic New Year to inspire turning over a new leaf. Because the fall inevitably comes leading the way for winter to make it's cold appearance before the warmth of spring arrives, renewal is never a new part of living. So without the symbolism offered by new 'news' of a new school year, I, again, aim to turn over a new (but old and dying) autumn leaf.

Declaration of Autumn Leaves
1) Leave the past behind: Do not forget the past - but do not let the shame, pain, and anger of former follies haunt your presence. Learn the lessons your mistakes can teach you, but leave the past in the past and move toward a positive future.
2) Leave the bad and the ugly behind: Not everyone will love you. Not everyone will like you. Those who have decided they share no love for you are not needed or wanted. Leave them behind; They have already left you.
3) Leave space to grow into the man you want to be: Though you are no longer a school child and have found yourself facing the responsibility and circumstances of adulthood, do not forget that, unlike the autumn leaves that have expired and fallen from the trees, you still can grow. Grow from the past into the future.
4) Leave space for Hopes and Dreams: Do not let former failures kill your hopes and dreams for the future. Let those hopes and dreams live and soar as the leaves fall and die to prepare for the cold of winter.

This fall, like Alice in Wonderland as she fell down the Rabbit Hole, I will receive an informal education. No symbolic newness for the renewal offered by this New Year. This New Year is a new New Year - one that accompanies the fall because I have decided for renewal.

I have decided to Declare upon the Autumn Leaves.

New, fresh, and beautiful things can come from the dying leaves of autumn.

Friday, August 15, 2008

You Can Never Go Back

It isn't that he has stopped growing up. It is just he has now grown distant from this place.

This is where he went to elementary school. And high school too. He learned to drive on these streets. Everyday, in a large white car from the 70s, he drove back and forth to school. He never knew such nostalgic value the 1976 Grand LeMans - complete with an 8 track AM radio, valeur seats, and two heavy four foot long doors - would have for him ten years later. Retrospect affords useless insight.

This is no longer his home. He has grown not up, but away.
(Do distances matter when growing? Does it matter if we grow up or away from? No matter what, growth means distance.)
He had grown not up, but way. Away from here. Away from home.

He lives far away from here now. He no longer needs an old out-dated car to drive him back and forth. He has moved on. Now subways, trains, and airplanes move him from place to place.

He is here but he can't come home. Home is never just a place - but a relationship between a person and a place. And he has changed.

Time only seems cruel if we look back at the past.

But here, it is hard for him to look ahead.